Today, the U.S. Senate passed the Department of Defense Authorization Conference Report (86-13), which included numerous pieces of legislation introduced and championed by U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA). With a previous veto threat lifted, President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law.
"This Defense Authorization bill is a product of hard work and bipartisanship, and I thank the president and leaders from both parties for finding common ground," said Senator Brown. "The final bill maintains the important provisions that I worked to pass in the Senate version. As a result, the National Guard will receive their fair housing allowance while deployed overseas, and the military will now be able to quickly sever contracts that are found to give our taxpayer dollars to enemies of the United States."
Senator Brown's Accomplishments in the 2012 Defense Authorization bill:
The No Contracting With The Enemy Act [S. 341] was originally introduced in February 2011 by Senators Brown and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) after government reports exposed how contractors in Afghanistan funnel American tax dollars to Afghan warlords and enemies of the United States, including the Taliban, in exchange for protection and other services. The bill, passed as part of the Defense Authorization bill, will make it easier for U.S. contracting officials to void any such contract, as identified by the Department of Defense and the Department of State.
The National Guard Basic Allowance for Housing Equity Act [S. 1579], passed as a Senator Brown-sponsored amendment to the Defense Authorization bill. This provision will provide members of the National Guard with the appropriate Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) or Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA) when transitioning between Active Duty and Full Time National Guard duty without a break in service. Currently, a National Guardsman who is mobilized is paid the BAH or OHA based on their home of record and not their permanent duty assignment station. This has drastically reduced the amount of BAH or OHA that a Guardsman is entitled to when he or she deploys. Because of the policy, 40 Massachusetts Guardsmen are losing nearly $1,000 per month. Senator Brown learned of this flaw from troops on the ground during his National Guard training deployment to Afghanistan in August 2011.
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs were reauthorized for eight years under an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill sponsored by Senators Mary L. Landrieu (D-LA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and cosponsored by Senator Brown. These programs have been subject to 14 temporary, short-term authorizations since 2008. A bipartisan coalition led by Senators Brown and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), worked with the Senate and House Small Business Committees to secure the long-term reauthorization. The SBIR program requires agencies with more than $100 million per year in non-government run research to provide 2.5% of that funding to small businesses. Under the provision that passed the Senate, the program would incrementally increase to 3.5% of research budgets over ten years. The STTR program provides funding for research proposals that are developed and executed cooperatively between a small business and a scientist in a Federal, educational or non-profit research organization. STTR would increase from .3% to .6% of total research budgets over five years.
Senator Brown co-sponsored, and the Senate passed, Senator Mark Kirk's (R-IL) amendment to impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran. The amendment gives the President the authority to impose sanctions directly on the Central Bank of Iran and would prohibit foreign banks that knowingly conduct financial transactions with the Central Bank of Iran from doing business in the United States.